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Friedman named to review sexual-harassment policies, seeks improvements

Cindy FriedmanFriedman

UPDATED, Jan. 27: State Senator Cindy Friedman finds herself in the middle of looking squarely into sexual-harassment issues.

Named to a panel to review sexual-harassment policies, she also serves on the committee investigating complaints about the husband of Stanley C. Rosenberg, who has stepped down as Senate president during the probe.

Further, she noted hearing stories of misconduct during the years she worked as chief of staff to the Senator Ken Donnelly, who died last April, and was a victim of harassment during her 20-year tenure as a manager in high-tech before working on Beacon Hill.

As to the Rosenberg case, the committee investigating it adopted a policy Thursday, Jan. 25, aimed to protect the anonymity of witnesses who say Rosenberg's husband sexually assaulted and harassed them and boasted of his influence over Senate matters. The Boston Globe has reported that only one of the four men who have accused Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, of misconduct has spoken to investigators hired by the Ethics Committee.

Friedman is among nine senators appointed to a committee that will review the state Senate's sexual-harassment policies and procedures, a task they have about four months to complete.

The Senate order (S.2262) establishing the committee named Senator Joan Lovely, Democrat of Salem, as committee chair and included a May 15 deadline to report its findings and recommendations.

"We have to make it very clear that we have no tolerance for sexual harassment in the Senate and there will be strong repercussions for anyone who violates our policies," Friedman said in a Jan. 25 news release. "We must update these policies to ensure that all Senate employees and members, as well as any individual the Senate works with never feel unsafe or feel like they can't speak up about an incident of sexual misconduct at the State House.

"Unfortunately, sexual harassment is an issue in every field of work. The #MeToo movement has shown us the magnitude of this problem, and we are finally taking a stand by saying 'no more' to this kind of behavior in the workplace," she said. "I truly believe that if you want to stop certain behaviors from happening, it needs to come from the top and that's what we hope to accomplish in the Senate."

Other members of the committee, appointed Jan. 18, include Senators Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), John Keenan (D-Quincy), Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Don Humason (R-Westfield) and Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) will serve as an ex-officio member and is empowered to vote in case of a tie.

Friedman represents the 4th Middlesex district, which includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and precincts 1-2 and 4-7 in Lexington.

Globe, Jan. 25: Senate committee vows to protect witnesses in Rosenberg investigation
Dec. 7, 2017: Friedman named to ethics panel, probing Rosenberg-Hefner

This news summary was published Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, updated Jan. 26, to add a subhead and updated again, with a new headline.

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